Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Plague Crucifix “Explodes” as it is Exposed to Rain During Urbi et Orbi
VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - A "miraculous crucifix," which survived a fire in 1519 and halted the great plague of Rome in 1522, has suffered potentially irreparable damage after being exposed to pouring rain for over two hours during Pope Francis' special Urbi et Orbi blessing in St. Peter's Square on Friday. The wood on the sculpture tumefied and "exploded" as the rainwater penetrated the priceless work of art. The stuccos in various places used to plaster-coat the body of Jesus were severely eroded and much of the ancient light paint was wiped off the wood. The tempera pigments used by the artist to paint the blood flowing from the side of Jesus was also undone. Ripples have formed on the wooden surface on the hair and details on the arms are ruined.
The artifact, from the 14th century Sienese School, is housed at the Church of San Marcello al Corso, where it escaped destruction when a fire destroyed the church on May 22, 1519. This miracle gave birth to a prayer group called "Company of the Holy Crucifix."